Lockdown impact: Father of three allegedly commits suicide in Assam

35-year-old daily wager took extreme step after being forced to watch his children starve for three days

SuicideImage Courtesy: indiatoday.in

Guwahati, March 5: The nationwide lockdown due to the emergence of Covid 19 pandemic is beginning to take people to a dark place. Thousands of wage labourers, people from lower income group and migrant workers are under extreme depression due to their inability to put food on the table for their families.

Take the case of Gopal Barman, a 35-year-old daily wage earner from Ambari Kochpara village that falls under the jurisdiction of Agia police station in Goalpara district of Assam. His wife and three children had already been dealing with abject poverty even during the time before the lockdown, but when food and essentials began running out and all income sources dried up, Barman found himself unable to feed his children.

The family ran out of food on April 1 and starved for three days before Barman’s wife insisted that he try to arrange for some food somehow. This led to an argument and the wife decided to go to seek help from some relatives. Shortly afterwards, Barman too stepped out and did not return. The minor children were faced with the prospect of remaining alone at home all night as neither parent came home. They informed neighbours who went out to look for Barman. Th enext day they discovered Barman’s body hanging from a tree.

The villagers feel that the incident took place because, Gopal Barman could not earn even a minimum amount necessary to pay for essentials items for the for the family. Local businessman, Radheshyam Nath reacting to the incident said, “It is not an isolated incident. Many people are under extreme depression due to long term lockdown. Many such incidents may take place if government does not take appropriate action at the earliest.”

CJP Volunteer Motivator from Goalpara, Zesmin Sultana said, “We are getting calls from a large number of helpless people, who are facing starvation. The efforts of the government are not adequate. If the situation doesn’t change, then many people will die near future.  We are trying to help the few people we can with limited resources at our disposal. But the government must step up relief measures and at least try to prevent death by starvation.”

In urban areas too, many low-income families have the additional worry of being able to pay rent. The mainstream media has failed to address the situation of this large and vastly neglected section society. Though many humanitarian organizations unlike Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) extending a helping hand to the marginalized sections of people, the number of people requiring assistance is large and many feel that the efforts by the government or large corporate donors are proving to be inadequate.



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